We reached out to Louie's Lures to get some review samples because we were intrigued by both their baits and business model.
Louie's Lures was started by Louie Rohrer, who has a long history of fishing and manufacturing in his family. Both his father and grandfather were woodworkers, specializing in artisan furniture. After a long day in the wood shop, they relaxed on the water with a rod in their hands. Louie's father and grandfather taught him the art of handcrafting wood lures. Word of his lures and fishing expertise grew, and anglers started asking to buy them. Louie's Lures was born.
Lure-making is a diversified industry. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of small companies manufacturing fishing lures, and even the larger brands typically fall under the umbrella of a large corporate company that provides the marketing and distribution scale necessary to get a new lure in front of millions of anglers.
Louie’s Lures works with smaller lure designers/manufacturers to provide handcrafted lures and baits sourced directly from the talented craftspeople who make them. This allows for constant innovation and high quality, while also allowing their partners to reach a much larger market. It also allows customers to buy a wider selection of baits at the same time. Current Louie's Lures partners include On the Spot Baits, Bass Reaper Bait Company, Bay State Baits, FOM Lures, Reel Threat Custom Lures, Born to Tie Jigs and Rinker Spinnerbaits, among others. Current offerings include softbaits, hardbaits, jigs and other tackle.
We reviewed some core-shot softbaits and jigs from On the Spot Baits. Shaun Kazmierski, lure designer and owner of On the Spot Baits, provided us with some insight into his design process.
Shaun's first step when trying to mimic a live bait with an artificial one is to look at photos of fish he has caught as well as other online photos. He creates a composite of the most unique features that he wants to include in a bait and forms a mental image of the design, keeping in mind the materials and techniques which he has at his disposal.
Shaun said this about the rainbow trout stick worm he sent to us:
"With the rainbow trout, I started with the color core I wanted. It pretty much goes the same way with each color match I create. I have the color I want in my head and just keep adding colorant until I get the desired color. With this pink, there are three different colorants I used to get my color. I wanted it to stand out so made it a brighter bubblegum pink--something that the fish couldn't miss."
When it came to the outer core, Shaun experimented through trial and error.
"I started with a clear plastic and just added an emerald highlight, which is a powder that won't change the color like a liquid pearl would but still gives a pearlescent effect. But that didn't give me the color contrast I wanted. Rainbow trout have a more organic green tint, so I added some green to the mix...and nailed it!"
Even the glitter type and amounts are carefully thought through.
"Last, I look at the photos to come up with the glitter color and sizes I want to use. This bait has three different sizes of black glitter. When you look at a rainbow trout, you see the small specks of black along with the larger spots and I tried to mimic that. I just kept adding until it looked right to me."
Shaun uses a test tank to see how new baits look and act in the water.
"I shot them in the turds first because I thought it would look awesome bouncing along the bottom. So I rigged one up, tossed it in the tank and it looked like a rainbow trout foraging on the bottom. I knew I nailed the color at that point."
"Turd" is the name Shaun uses for his three-inch size ned stick worms.
In addition to the rainbow trout stick worms, Louie's Lures also sent us some skirted 1/8 oz. football jigs with the three-inch stick worms attached. What a killer looking combination!
The Ohio Lure Love Test Pond had been extremely quiet for a few weeks. The bass seemed to have lockjaw and hadn't been hitting finesse baits, cranks or top water. The fish typically slow down at the end of summer/beginning of fall, and this year was no exception.
First I tried fishing a rainbow trout ned turd by itself. I got a hit or two and caught a massive bluegill, but fishing was still slow.
Then I switched to the football jig with rainbow trout ned. It was like I'd flipped a light switch! The bass began smashing the jig as I slowly swam it along. The color combination combined with its size profile was perfect. Often bass are looking for a larger meal this time of year and to me the jig looked like a bite-size bluegill.
One of the things I like about the rainbow trout design is the transparent outer layer that looks like so many smaller baitfish--not just rainbow trout. We have a lot of darters in Ohio, which are small, colorful baitfish. My first thought when opening the package of rainbow trout stick worms was that they imitate a darter very well.
Thanks to Louie's Lures for providing the samples and Shaun for sharing his lure design insights. John "Crappie Hippie" King and I will do a more thorough review in an upcoming podcast episode.